Who is the better skater: Kwan or Cohen?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by shady82, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. shady82

    shady82 New Member

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    This doesn't mean who is the better competitor - we all know the answer to that question.

    Is Michelle Kwan or Sasha Cohen a stronger skater overall - taking into account both technical and artistic standpoints?

    My thoughts:

    Jumps
    Michelle has better jump technique than Sasha, though Sasha has bigger jumps. Sasha has attempted more difficult 3-3s (such as 3lutz-3toe and 3flip-3toe) but is generally not successful at them. I don't remember her landing a 3-3 in a competition - can someone correct me if I'm wrong. Michelle mainly just performs the 3toe-3toe, and has landed it successfully many times in competition.

    Spins, spirals
    Sasha has a slight edge here - her spins show more flexibility and she definitely has a better layback. Her spirals have more stretch, but Michelle did have the iconic COE spiral. Both are strong in footwork, but in different ways.

    Artistry, presentation
    They have very different styles, so this is subjective. However, both are exceptional artists. In my opinion, Sasha has stronger SPs - I don't see a lot of Michelle's SPs beating a clean Malaguena or Dark Eyes. However, Michelle has had several terrific LPs (Lyra Angelica and SOTBS in particular). In my opinion, Lyra Angelica trumps any other top lady's program artistically in the past two decades.

    What are your thoughts? ;)
  2. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I dont agree at all Sasha has bigger jumps. Compared to other top ladies she has smallish jumps. Michelle doesnt have the biggest jumps, but bigger than Sasha.

    I would say Michelle has much stronger jumps, stronger footwork, much better basic skating, skates with more speed and power. I would say Sasha has much better spins and more flexability. In all other areas they are roughly equal, but Michelle skates with more passion too I think. So I would say Michelle.
  3. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I can think of like 7 of Kwan's SPs that are better than Sasha's Dark Eyes and Malaguena if skated up to Kwan's level.

    Also, I think Kwan's jumps under Arutunian were probably bigger than Sasha's.

    Let's not forget about skating skills. Kwan trumps Sasha in that area as well.

    Spins, Sasha is better. There's no denying that, although I do think Kwan probably had the best classic sit spin position of the top ladies in the 2000s.
  4. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan New Member

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    This. I love both ladies, but Kwan definitely wins this one for me for the reasons you have mentioned.
  5. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

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    Kwan was better. Sasha had some superior elements, although overall Kwan wins. I do prefer Sasha's style personally though.
  6. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    Cohen has better spins and flexibility. That's all. Kwan by a mile.
  7. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    Michelle attempted a 3Z-3R at 2001 Skate Canada so this isn't correct either. That's generally considered harder than either 3-3 you listed for Sasha.
  8. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Michelle is a skater. Sasha is a gymnast.
    Sasha has some amazing quality, but not skating quality. I think she is so overrated as a skater, her glide, edges, speed are not the best. ;)
  9. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    Sasha had lovely lines, extension and flexibility. She had lovely spins and a beautiful presence on the ice.

    In short, she was beautiful to watch.

    In terms of the better skater, obviously Michelle. That's a no brainer.
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  10. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I think Sasha`s short program from the 04 Worlds was nearly unbeatable under 6.0, and would have been under COP. Sasha`s SP at the 2006 Olympics was nearly unbeatable under COP (although Slutskaya still came very close to doing it at the Olympics).

    In a LP I cant think of any performance she did that would have been close to unbeatable though.
  11. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    This is a no-brainer. Michelle is the better skater, all things considered. Sasha had more flexibility and better lines, and possibly better spins than Michelle. However, Michelle had better basic skating skills, better technique, better jumps, competitiveness, and I would even add musical expression, although Sasha was also very good at interpreting music. Sasha's spirals were higher, but she did not have the deep edge and the control Michelle had on hers.

    I don't believe that Sasha had unbeatable SPs, even though she often had wonderful SPs. However, Michelle's Rachmaninoff, East of Eden, Dream of Desdemona, Spartacus, and The Feeling begins were equally wonderful- even better if you consider the perfection of her technique.

    About the LPs- need I even mention?
  12. znhurston

    znhurston Member

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    What about Cohen's spirals? Is there any ladies' skater in history who has performed better spirals??
  13. arakwafan2006

    arakwafan2006 Active Member

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    Its actually odd how trick oriented her skating was especially with Tarasova. End to end skating and really in a straight line. Her edge quality was poor...really poor. Kwan has a mastery of the blade that is unparalleled. Sasha was amazing but Kwan was a skater!
  14. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I dont know if it this is the right way to look at things, or if I am the only one who ever thought this, but I often wonder if Sashas jump inconsistency and problematic jump technique were tied into her lack of basic skating quality. Maybe if she fixed one they would have all come together at once- better quality jumps, more jump consistency and clean programs, and programs with more speed and secure edging, including in and out of her jumps. I know it is hypothetical, but if there is some truth to that theory, and if that had ever happened boy she would have been almost unbeatable in the 2002-2006 quad anyway (and maybe for a bit after Turin had she continued).

    As for Sashas SPs maybe unbeatable is too strong a word but her 2004 Worlds SP sure looked untouchable, it absolutely crushed a clean Arakawa (with a 3-3), Ando (with a harder 3-3, and much better spins and overall skating than she ever would have IMO), and Kwan (wouldnt have been close to Cohen even without the time deduction). The commentators on Eurosport were livid 2nd place Shizuka even took a couple 1st place votes off her, LOL! Then at the 2006 Olympics winning the SP over a clean and very powerful and effective skate by Slutskaya who had looked unbeatable in SPs under the new COP and had been scored as such the last year and half.
  15. gordanlevitt

    gordanlevitt New Member

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    I would say Cohen. She would have won the 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010 Nationals had she skated cleanly, and would have more National titles than Michelle, and would have also won the 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2006 Olympics had she skated cleanly and have more World/Olympic titles than Michelle. Michelle's biggest strength is her beautiful positions and lines but Sasha has even more beautiful position and lines, neither have strong jumps, Sasha has way better spins, and Sasha has even better spirals. So other than better edges and speed which the judges dont even care about and reputation what are Michelle's advantage?
  16. lao1234

    lao1234 Member

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    I would say that Michelle's advantage was that she actually skated cleanly ~90% of the time whereas Sasha skated with unfortunate errors ~90% of the time.
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  17. gordanlevitt

    gordanlevitt New Member

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    True, but isnt this thread supposed to step over that, as it is who is better skater, not better competitor. Michelle Kwan was also the Patrick Chan of that era, a big judges pet, so it made it easier to skate cleanly all the time when you know the judges had you penciled in as the winner before events even began. Sasha never had that comfort as much, she had to be perfect, and if she made a small mistake the judges hammered her.
  18. lao1234

    lao1234 Member

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    True - it is hard to judge how good a skater is when they're often falling. It's also hard to remove continued inconsistency from your mind when judging how good a skater is.

    I totally do NOT agree that Kwan was a judge's pet but, even if you think she was, she still went out and delivered clean performances in competition way more often than not.
  19. kwanette

    kwanette Fetalized since 1998

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    I can't.
  20. iarispiralllyof

    iarispiralllyof Active Member

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    Michelle has far better jumps, Judgejudy. :hat1: and better footwork. The problem with most of Sasha's strengths over Michelle (except her spins) is that they have little to do with actual skating and more to do with aesthetics. Both had small jumps but most of Michelle's jumps had extremely steady, sure landings, often with flowing edges. Sasha often looked like she was close to tumbling over. She also had a way worse flutz.

    It's funny to me that people talk so much about Sasha's wasted potential and how she could have been the most talented skater of all time based on her practices. I agree that a skater's true potential is not always met, but at a certain point, consistently falling has to be attributed at least in part to a not-so-sound technique or lackluster training.
    How many female skaters, even as juniors, land triple axels, quads, 3-3-3's in practice? If we went by what skaters did in practice, what's the point of even having competitions? Michelle's legacy is haunted by the fact that she only landed 3t-3t in competition, yet she reportedly landed a myriad of difficult 3-3's in practice as witnessed by commentators on air or journalists: 3lo-3lo, 3lz-3lo, 3lz-3t, 3s-3lo, and Frank even said she had been training the 3axel. Yet no one bases Michelle's talents and legacy on those supposed jumps that she did in practice. We based it on what she delivered in competition. I remember the hooplah back in 2002 over Sasha apparently training the quad and everyone was acting as if she was the future jumping wise and Michelle should just retire. History has shown us that that was nothing but hype :rofl: Does ANYONE consider Sasha one of the great jumpers?

    Why is having the mental willpower to hone your focus during a jump so that you don't fall any less a part of the technique than remembering to exert enough energy into the actual jump? Both are necessary for a successful jump. When skaters train, like with many sports, they train repetition so that it becomes almost second nature. Training your mind is just as important. Sasha's hyper flexibility is commonplace in gymnastics, ballet. Michelle's strengths are all rooted in her strong basic skating.

    I also think one of Sasha's obvious weaknesses was her lack of stamina.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  21. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Oh, the judges certainly had Sasha penciled in at 2004 Nationals and Worlds.
  22. query5

    query5 New Member

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    Michelle better skater.

    Michelle had better lines, edges, jumps, artistry.
    She drew you in.
    Sasha came across as. stiff at times , flat edged
    She was more flexible as spirals michelle held steadier edge.
    Although I liked both spirals. Sasha more gymnastic, michelle skater.

    Sasha like Patrick knew how to work the ijs system with points. In fact many times she hinted she changed her program around to maximize the point. Which meant high scored despite mistakes
    She was a pet of judges & usfsa because she,knew,how to get levels and points.
    Usfsa was surprised in,short at 2005 worlds michelle did so well .Her score by skating clean.
    Sasha & irina beat michelle out through levels as well as should , they skated in gp events the years of 2003-2005..
    That was michelle only time. She studied it
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  23. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    You're hysterical, gordanlevitt. :rofl: If Sasha would have won so many competitions if she were clean, how can you also claim that Michelle was penciled in as the winner before the event even began? Which is it? :rofl:
  24. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    How exactly has knowing you're going to win ahead of time helped Patrick Chan skate cleanly?
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  25. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

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    Kwan, no question. Sasha was a beautiful short program skater but she only rarely completed a freeskate without mopping up the ice with her butt at least once or more. Sasha's best quality was her flexibility moves, but those don't win competitions. She never really did a true lutz in her life, and she just didn't relate to the audience and draw them in the way Michelle did. It says a lot about Sasha's best talents when you consider her final exhibition and SOI performances were pretty much totally lacking jumps and mainly showing off her bendy, flexy moves and nothing else.

    And, no, I don't hate Sasha, I really enjoyed her skating and was gutted when she fell twice and lost that OGM. As much as I favored Michelle, I really wanted to see Sasha pull that one off in Torino after Michelle withdrew. But she was the usual Sasha, another deer in the headlights long program with falls.
  26. centerstage01

    centerstage01 Well-Known Member

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    Please don't feed the obvious troll.
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  27. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, duplicate post
  28. query5

    query5 New Member

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    E:cool: that being said they are both good and enjoyable in their own way.
  29. museksk8r

    museksk8r Well-Known Member

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    The only edge Cohen had over Kwan were her spins and flexibility. Kwan was easily the better jumper, better skater (speed, skating skills, edges, flow, and footwork were all better than Sasha), and by far the better competitor. Artistry is subjective, but I put Kwan over Cohen in that department too as Michelle showed better versatility and more originality (Rush, A Day in the Life, Miraculous Mandarin, etc.) than Sasha, who was more one-note and always seemed to skate to safe, tested classic skating warhorses (MalagueƱa, Swan Lake, Carmen, Nutcracker, & Romeo + Juliet). Michelle produced far more memorable, iconic programs (Romanza, Salome, Dream of Desdemona, Taj Mahal, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2, Lyra Angelica, Lamento D'Ariane, The Red Violin, East of Eden, Song of the Black Swan, The Feeling Begins, Concierto de Aranjuez, & Spartacus).
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  30. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    Well I finally found something pro-Kwan that I disagree with on this thread. I never found Kwan very versatile, certainly not in the style of a Bobek, or Yamaguchi in her pro years. I know people will cite Kwan's many different programs featuring different musical styles but I never believed she pulled off different styles that well. I'd give that edge to Cohen.

    And as a huge Kwan fan, I am surprised that Spartacus is considered an iconic Kwan program. Same goes for Ariane, Desdemona, Red Violin, Song of the Black Swan and The Feeling Begins. Desdemona was a great program, maybe her best short program ever. Iconic? No. The others I listed, well she may have given great performances of them, but iconic programs? No. Certainly she had more iconic programs than Cohen did though. In fact, I can't think of one iconic program of Cohen's.
  31. ltnskater

    ltnskater New Member

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    I believe Sasha's one and only clean 3-3 was a 3lutz-3toe at 2003 worlds lp Rachmaninoff program (loved that program).

    Jump wise, Michelle had far superior jump technique, steadiness, edge quality in and out of the jumps and even height was comparable if not better than Sasha's.

    Spins and spirals I would give a slight edge to Sasha.

    Skating skill Michelle wins, and artistry is subjective, I think both have great artistry, let's call it a tie, overall, I would still have Michelle ahead of Sasha as the better overall skater.
  32. shoocreme

    shoocreme New Member

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    kwan was more versatile than cohen. she had such a long career people tend to forget little gems here and there. i think she had 4 main stages: the precocious little girl (92-95), the dramatic character actress (96-97, 99), light and floaty michelle who was portraying herself and her love of skating (98), and then the last chunk of her career (03-05) where she tried to portray a stronger, more powerful image rather than that delicate, lyrical style she embodied mid career. her body type coincidentally changed to match HA

    cohen could do the fierce, passionate diva (malaguena, dark eyes) or the soft prima ballerina but she had a serious case of b****face which meant the gigantic smiles she'd plaster onto her face during some of her programs looked so fake. those joker smiles were more scary than they were warm and inviting
    also, with the success of malaguena it seemed like every sp she did afterwards was a pale imitation of the same theme. even when she came back in 2010!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
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  33. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    You can't be serious. Michelle Kwan was one of the most consistent skaters of all time. To compare her with the often falling Chan (even though he has fantastic basic skating skills) is ludicrous. When Michelle made mistakes, the judges did hammer her. She lost to Tara in 1997 at nationals and worlds, lost to Irina more than once, and even lost to Maria Butyrskaya when she had subpar skates, which was rare.
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  34. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear New Member

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    It boggles my mind that this is even a question.
  35. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

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    Nicole Bobek I would say. She had similar flxability in the spiral, but deeper stronger edges and faster than Cohen.
  36. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to speed, ice coverage, and depth of edge, then yes there have been ladies who had better spirals than Sasha Cohen.

    Sasha Cohen had the most split in her positions and a great toe point (probably the best), but even I know there are some who prefer Nicole Bobek's positions because they felt her line was more aesthetically-pleasing. Someone also mentioned that Bobek has a much deeper edges to her spirals too, but the problem is that Bobek didn't hold her positions as long as Cohen's did. Whether that was due to ability or choice, I don't know.

    Also, Michelle Kwan's speed and ice coverage in her spirals (ability to hold that position with extreme steadiness and probably the smoothest transition from inside to outside edges of anyone) were the best during her era. If you watch her exhibitions, you can see all the different positions and edges Kwan was able to do on her spirals. Her stretch was already top-notch, but it actually got better in the 2004-2005 season and in that Totentaz SP she performed that one time in Winter 2005.
  37. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    I believe Bobek was "the first" to do the spiral in that position. It did not appear to become common until after Cohen started doing it.
  38. museksk8r

    museksk8r Well-Known Member

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    I never claimed that Michelle was the most original or versatile skater ever, but in comparison to Sasha, Kwan was more original and versatile than Cohen. Michelle had a knack for skating to music pieces that no one had ever heard in skating competition before and, stylistically, she did attempt to challenge herself from what was comfortable to her. Given her comparitively shorter career to Kwan, Cohen recycled many of her programs and music pieces . . . she skated to music from Dark Eyes for 3 seasons, Malaguena for 2 seasons, and My Sweet and Tender Beast for 2 seasons. Even Cohen's Romeo + Juliet competitive LP in the 2006 season came about after she had already used the piece of music as an exhibition in 2003-2004. Performing to Skating's Greatest Hits or to the same music pieces over and over and over doesn't show originality or versatility. If you believe it does, then I'll simply agree to disagree with you.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  39. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I always found Cohen to be sort of dead behind the eyes when she skated. She hit the high notes with her positions and everything, but I never really found her convincing in her musical expression. I always felt there was a sort of mental or spiritual separation between her and the music, but she luckily had choreography that utilized her flexibility well.

    The one time I really felt something during a performance was her 2006 Olympics LP. After her two mistakes, she just woke up or something, but her performance for the rest of that routine felt genuine.
  40. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

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    I'm going with Michelle. I like Sasha and she was a talented skater, but she always fell at least once during her long programs. I can't remember any long program during competition where she didn't fall. If she could have focused, that would have been great, but she always seemed to lose her concentration which caused her to fall.